Artist Irene Cole
I grew up in a semi-rural area of northern New Jersey where being outside in nature was a big part of my experience. In younger years, weekday summers were spent at a lake; getting there meant hopping on a bicycle and peddling uphill most of the way and weekends were spent camping, fishing and playing hide and seek in the tall grass before collapsing before a campfire. Teenage years, the scope of my boundaries changed and included forays to state parks and longer bike rides. Autumn was all about escaping school to make houses using the leaves that had fallen or going apple picking while enjoying the crisp air. Winter still, was about being out of doors—sledding, ice skating or skiing—before welcoming spring with open arms as flowers started to bloom and the woods beckoned for long walks.
In reflection, it doesn't surprise me that my art is inspired by nature, even after years spent in the city. I feel blessed now, to live among some of the most beautiful mountains and valleys in the State of Vermont. My connection to nature is still strong and comes from my roots. I breathe into my surroundings and contentment fills me up.
I feel a sense of joy as I walk through the woods with the sun dancing through the trees. I hope that I show this sense of joy in my paintings and that the viewer connects with the experience. I sometimes think about how the trees are all the same, yet different and I connect this to people. Trees seem to live in harmony, sometimes supporting each other, sometimes rubbing against one another, often standing alone. Nature just does its thing successfully despite outside forces. I strive to behave as nature does; going with the flow of the ups and downs without a struggle.
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